Harper Government supports Victims of Western Wildfires

July 8, 2015 – Ottawa, ON – Health Canada / Public Health Agency of Canada

Today, Rob Clarke, Member of Parliament for Desnethé–Missinippi–Churchill River, along with Randy Hoback, Member of Parliament for Prince Albert, announced on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, that the Harper Government is providing further emergency assistance to support the safety and well-being of more than 13,000 evacuees from northern First Nations and communities in Western Canada who have been driven from their communities and homes due to wildfire threats.

In response to the ongoing wildfires in Saskatchewan and Alberta, the Public Health Agency of Canada has shipped a total of more than 6500 blankets, 4000 beds, as well as gowns, pillows, and towels for use in reception centres in Regina, Prince Albert, La Ronge and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan as well as to High Level and Cold Lake, Alberta.

Canada’s National Emergency Strategic Stockpile (NESS) is used to respond to a variety of emergencies and natural disasters by providing emergency supplies to supplement municipal, provincial, and territorial capacity.

In addition, Health Canada nurses are providing nursing assistance to support regional health authorities in all affected locations in Regina and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and Cold Lake, Alberta. Health Canada staff are also working with evacuation centres to coordinate mental wellness and cultural supports for evacuees.

Quick Facts

  • The Public Health Agency of Canada (The Agency) NESS assets are held in federal warehouses across Canada, and are also pre-positioned at sites managed by Provincial and Territorial partners across the country. NESS assets fall into four categories:
    • Medical equipment and supplies (e.g. mini-clinics, X-ray machines)
    • Pandemic supplies (e.g. antivirals and personal protective equipment)
    • Pharmaceuticals (e.g. antibiotics, chemical, biological and radio-nuclear countermeasures); and
    • Social service supplies (e.g. reception centre kits, beds and blankets).
  • The Agency also supports requests for assistance under the Operational Framework for Mutual Aid Requests (OFMAR), which provides a streamlined mechanism to seek pan-Canadian surge capacity for health professionals in times of emergencies.
  • Health Canada has identified an Alberta Region representative from its Non-Insured Health Benefits program to support evacuees in Cold Lake who require prescriptions.
  • Health Canada is working with regional health authorities and its First Nation partners to coordinate Health Canada funded mental wellness supports. The mobile Mental Wellness Teams from the Prince Albert Grand Council, the White Raven Healing Lodge and the Saskatoon Tribal Council Health and Family Services Inc. are providing supports in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. The Onion Lake Mental Wellness Team was deployed to Cold Lake, Alberta, to provide supports earlier this week.
  • An Environmental Health Officer from Alberta Region is on the ground in Cold Lake providing support to provincial colleagues.


“Our Government is always ready to support Canadians facing natural disasters. The wildfires currently burning across different parts of Canada remain a threat and we stand poised to provide health-related support to our provincial and territorial partners.”
Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

“Our Government is delivering the emergency supplies that workers and evacuees need to ensure that they remain safe and in good care. The health and safety of Canadians is our priority.”
Rob Clarke
Member of Parliament for Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River

“It is encouraging to see our Government work cooperatively with local governments so that efforts can be focused where they are needed most. We will continue to work cooperatively with all orders of government to respond to this emergency.”
Randy Hoback
Member of Parliament for Prince Albert

“The National Emergency Strategic Stockpile is available on very short notice to respond to the needs of our provincial and territorial counterparts in order to supplement their capacity and to enhance the ability to provide support during these types of emergencies.”
Dr. Theresa Tam
Deputy Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

Associated Links



Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health
Health Canada
Media Relations

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Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at: www.healthcanada.gc.ca/media


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